Charlize Theron shows off her comedic side
Charlize Theron shows off her comedic side to M and in new laughfest A Million Ways To Die In The West
Who knew Academy Award-winning South African actress Charlize Theron had the same sense of humour as someone like Seth MacFarlane?
The Hollywood bombshell has, after all, built her career on dramatic roles, even winning an Oscar for her transformative portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003).
But in her latest role as female gunslinger Anna in US actor-writer-director MacFarlane's spoof on Westerns titled A Million Ways To Die In The West, Theron tries out broad comedy for once.
Opening tomorrow, it features MacFarlane as a cowardly sheep farmer who finds his courage after meeting married woman Anna in 1880s Arizona.
The movie also stars Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman.
A self-proclaimed "dork", Theron, 38, knows that she is not skilled to be a comedian, but likes surrounding herself with funny people and those who do not take themselves too seriously.
"I like that (funny) environment and tend to have that environment when I work on dramas," she said.
"I have thought that it would be nice to do more comedy, but you don't want to do comedy for the sake of comedy. So to do something like this with someone who I think is at the top of his game when it comes to comedy, for someone like me, it's a great opportunity."
Theron, who chopped off her long blonde locks to film Mad Max: Fury Road, even provided a few laughs for the gathered journalists at the Beverly Hills press junket when she answered a question about her charity work, which one reporter mistakenly thought was the promotion of clean water.
"That's (US actor) Matt Damon," she replied. "But I get a lot of that, especially with the short hair. But if you see Matt Damon, you should ask him about the water issue."
Of course, the whole room filled with laughter as she flashed a smile and went on to talk about A Million Ways To Die In The West.
Theron heard about the film through her agent, who is also MacFarlane's, even before there was a script and was immediately drawn to its concept, even though she was looking to take some time off from acting.
She said: "I was loving the work I was doing, but wasn't enjoying the process. I thought I would take a big break to reflect on that.
"I don't want to go through my life not really loving what I do... (But) there was something about Seth and this cast and this material that made me think it's exactly what I needed to do. And, boy, was I right."
After having a drink and meeting with MacFarlane, Theron was ready to dive into the genre piece.
And she was not afraid of getting crazy requests from him either.
"Well, if it turns out like Ted, I'll be really happy," she added.
"We spent quite a lot of time together, making sure we were on the same page, so there were no surprises when you work with someone like that."
Oh, and for those who might be offended by his raunchy and oft-times tasteless humour, she has some advice.
"I find a drink helps and maybe pulling your finger out of your ass," she said.
"I don't think some comedians enjoy working from a place of just offending or being mean, and I really think - now that I know him - it's not who he is," she said.
According to her, the 40-year-old is "very well read, well informed, dangerously smart", and has amazing timing and wit in all that he creates.
Taking on Anna was a no-brainer. The character is a brazen gunslinger and one of the guys.
She said: "I've done characters that are so physically or emotionally far away from me, but I felt a connection (with Anna) that further serviced the story."
Like Anna, Theron is a romantic. However, the single mother, who has an adopted two-year-old son named Jackson, does not see any romance in marriage.
"I'm romantic in the sense that I like being in long-term relationships," she said.
"I like having the door opened for me and I like a gentleman.
"I like somebody who isn't threatened or intimidated by the full experience of a woman living life to the best of her ability. I think that's the most romantic, sexiest thing about a man."
Of course, all our questions had to be "about the movie," but a reference to her current boyfriend, 53-year-old US actor-director Sean Penn, did come up when Theron talked about her projects, which include an adaption of Gillian Flynn's Dark Places novel, and about heading to South Africa to shoot the Penn-helmed The Last Face.
After she said that, a reporter immediately spoke up and asked her about their relationship.
"Sneaky, sneaky…" Theron chuckled before the moderator cut her off.
Well, if the junket was any indication of Theron's newfound comedic abilities, then in our books, she's a natural.
Who are the stars who made us laugh, or at least chuckle, in the Old West? Here are our top seven, ranked accordingly.
1 Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles (1974)
2 Steve Martin in Three Amigos (1986)
3 Neil Patrick Harris in A Million Ways To Die In The West (2014)
4 Billy Crystal in City Slickers (1991)
5 Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon (2000)
6 Mel Gibson in Maverick (1994)
7 Johnny Depp voicing Rango in Rango (2011)